KATHMANDU, Aug 9: Provincial police are all set to acquire the authority to investigate criminal cases in a given province and submit the findings to the public prosecutor. This has been made possible by new legislation vetted by the State Affairs Committee (SAC) of parliament.
The parliamentary committee tabled its report on the Nepal Police and Provincial Police Operation, Supervision and Coordination Bill at the House of Representatives on Thursday after widening the jurisdiction for provincial police.
The bill tabled by the government in the lower house earlier this year had drawn flak for proposing limited authority to provincial police and giving to the CDOs (chief district officers ) sweeping authority to mobilize them. The House forwarded the bill to the SAC for revision in February and the House panel took months to prepare its report with various revisions.
Altogether 91 lawmakers had registered amendment proposals to the bill. “The SAC has tried its best to accommodate the amendments registered by lawmakers,” said Committee Chairperson Shashi Shrestha while tabling the revised bill in the House on Thursday.
The revised bill has assigned the authority to provincial police to arrest suspects in crime, investigate criminal cases to be prosecuted by the public prosecutor and carry out searches and confiscate objects.
Earlier, the government had proposed vesting the powers of both investigation and arrest solely in the Nepal Police, which is the federal police force. Provincial police could make arrests only to control or preempt crime and help federal police with the investigation of crime . Amending the jurisdiction of federal police, the SAC has also given provincial police the authority to involve themselves in maintaining public peace and order and investigate minor cases.
The parliamentary committee has demarcated the cases that are to be investigated by federal police, including the cases concerning offence against the state, immigration, terrorism, human trafficking, cyber offence, cross-border crime and any other case requested by the provincial police and others.
Under the revised bill, the federal police can seek the help of the provincial police while carrying out investigations in cases that fall under its jurisdiction. Provincial police will also be responsible for maintaining security at jails and taking persons into custody in their respective provinces .
Following protest by provincial governments against the sweeping authority of the CDOs for mobilization provincial police, the parliamentary committee has revised the bill to make it mandatory for the CDOs to work under the direction of the provincial line ministry.
Federal police will fix the criteria for salary and the other remuneration of the provincial police and the federal government will fix the uniforms of the provincial police, according to the bill.